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Photograph of  really worn out asphalt roof shingles Rubber Roof Shingles & Slates
Rubber Shingle Product Sources, Installation, Defects, Repairs

  • PL RUBBER ROOF SHINGLES & SLATES - CONTENTS: Rubber and crumb rubber roofing products, rubber based roof slates & shingles. Synthetic Roofing. Green roofing materials. Definition of rubber shingle or slate roofing, green roofing, synthetic roofing. Rubber roof slate or shingle failures, installation advice, product sources.
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Rubber roofing slate & shingle products, properties, sources, inspections, failures, life expectancy:

This article describes shingle or slate type roofing materials made of rubber, usually recycled rubber tires, possibly using granulated or crumb rubber or in some (older) products, actual pieces of recycled rubber tires. We discsuss rubber shingle choices, rubber shingle, slate, or shake sources, rubber slate installations, inspection of rubber shake or slate roofs, defects in those roofs, rubber shingle roofing repairs, and rubber slate product warranties.

Page top image of composite wood-plastic shingles, source U.S.FPL. Photos of rubber roof shingles & slates and field reports are wanted - use the page top or bottom CONTACT link.



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Rubber-based Roof Shingles & Slates

Rubber roof shingles or slate or wood shake look-alikes made from recycled rubber are available from a number of roofing product manufacturers and according to some roofing industry sources may have a significant impact on the roofing industry. Rubber roofing products are also used in green roof systems as a roof surface covering over which soil and plants may be added in green roof designs. Typical rubber shingle or slate roof manufacturer's warranty periods extend for 30 years, some as much as 50 years.

But will a rubber based roof slate or shingle endure for that anticipated life expectancy? As the question and reply below illustrate, the actual field performance of rubber slates or shingles does not yet (in 2016) have decades of installed field experience from which we may draw conclusions, and there may be some hints that more about rubber shingle life, durability, and defects remains to be learned.

Question: Bowing, fish-mouthing rubber roof slates on an 8-year-old home

2016/06/11 Brian Koepf ASHI #229 said:

I inspected an 8 year old simulated slate rubber roof yesterday on a huge house that are discolored in areas where they fish mouthed/bowing. I cannot find info on the web about this. Does anyone have experience with this condition? I recommended that the manufacturer be consulted regarding their warranty, and that a licensed roofer who is qualified to to install this product be contacted.

This question was posted originally at PLASTIC ROOFING TYPES. Mr. Koepf is an ASHI-certified home inspector in Leesburgh, VA. - Ed.

Reply: research on field performance, inspection, life & defects in rubber roof slates & shingles is in process, contributions & comments invited

Thanks for the question, Brian. I was surprised to hear a report of actual fishmouthing on rubber-based simulated slate as I think of that material as not so likely to be affected by moisture from below - the common cause of fishmouthing on asphalt roofing shingles.

A first look through home inspector forum chats about rubber shingles finds many opinions and what sounds like some confusion about what rubber roof slates and shakes are and how they might preform. Doing a little research on "rubber-based roof slate" materials I found a paucity of information reporting types and causes of roof failures but some references to these possible worries with rubber-formlated roof slates, shakes, or shingles:

We don't know exactly what roofing product is installed on the 8-year old home you inspected - let me know if you can find out what product (brand, model, color) was installed, and where the home is located. Photos would be very helpful as well - use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to send me what you can.

I have read that crumb rubber used in roof products including both "slate" products and green roofing substrates can contribute a porous and even water-retention property that may be involved in what you saw. We need to know more about what's installed. Here are some research papers that may be helpful.

Rubber-based roof shingles that resemble slate or wood shingles have been marketed by several companies for a while now and are promoted as durable, green (as they recycle materials), and perhaps more hail damage-resistant than some other roofing products. I've had poor success so far finding scholarly reports of types of damage that are peculiar to rubber-based roofing slates or shingles. We never give up however.

The roofing industry companies who produce rubber-based roof shingles or slates say water absorption is low (according to some sources I read).

In reviewing the product literature for synthetic roofing slates, shakes, or shingles it can be difficult to find an actual description of the shingle ingredients at some manufacturers' websites where some products may say just "made of 95% recycled materials".

Interestingly, Enviroshake® roofing is "... made with 95 per cent reclaimed products, including post-industrial plastics, recycled rubber elastomers and cellulose fibres." [citation below]. It's that last ingredient, "cellulose fibres" that might make trouble in some roofing products, as it certainly did in earlier roof and siding materials.

See FIBER-WOOD & FIBERBOARD ROOFING for examples of an older cellulose fiber roofing product that was disappointing
and
See SIDING HARDBOARD for an introduction into the sea of complaints around hardboard siding.

Cellulose fibers may be an important factor in more recent complaints about shrinkage, gaps, and possibly buckling in newer fiber-cement siding products that we hoped would not suffer similarly.
See SIDING, FIBER CEMENT GAPS if you can stand reading more about those problems.

Rubber based synthetic slate & shake product reviews

Synthetic slate and shake products are manufactured from a variety of materials, primarily polymers and/or rubber along with fillers and modifiers. Although the products seem very similar, formulations vary among manufacturers.

"There are so many plastic or rubber compounds that can be utilized that to say they're all the same couldn't be farther from the truth," points out Brian Eberle, vice president of marketing and sales for Wellington Polymer Technologies, maker of Enviroshake.

The polymeric composition of most synthetic shingles and shakes generally includes advanced UV inhibitors and impact modifiers. Some products incorporate ingredients such as recycled rubber or plastic, mineral dust, or cellulose fibers, while others use virgin rubber and plastic.

The majority of the synthetic slates and shakes are backed by 50-year warranties. Most are UL-certified for Class 4 impact resistance, and many, but not all, also achieve a Class A fire resistance rating. Furthermore, some are rated to resist uplift in high winds.

This reviewer makes an important point: there is a wide range of formulations and ingredients in rubber-based roof shingle/slate lookalikes.

Rubber Shingle or Slate Field Performance, Installation, Inspection or Life Expectancy Concerns

Some suggestions in online forums for roofing contractors include comments that might point to an explanation for the fishmouthing that observed by Mr. Koepf.

Researching some roofer forums such as I have found some chatter about excessive water absorption of some rubber roof shingle products.
Excerpts: [Note that the following are opinions, not scholarly research - Ed.]

We install Euroshield on a regular basis. They are based here in Calgary, and manufacture their product from recycled tires. If I had a choice, this would go on my roof. Having said that, there are small details and issues it helps to be aware of (with regards to installation), as they are still a relatively new company in the market, and have yet to work out all the kinks. - Mr. Roofer, Calgary Alberta

I watched a roofer put some on a local restaurant 5 or 6 years ago. Looks great, however there are obvious patches since then and there is a hip that is missing quite a few and others lifted up ready to be blown off. - ronbryanroofing

Look to see jobs from at least 10 years ago. ... Generaly they do not seem to last. - Red_Cedar

Looks like siding on a roof once it's up. Not only that, unlike siding that has a lip to interlock it, there is nothing to prevent it from curling (which is what I've seen happened and which I predicted as a matter of common sense). I haven't seen one simulated slate roof installed that has looked or performed as advertised. However, I must say that DaVinci is the best out there ... - 2ndGen

I saw the rubber slate for sale in the suppliers the other day, I must admit it looked good but the price was very off putting as it was nearly the same as a real slate! ... the supplier said it was really aimed at the diy market for porches and lean tos rather than main roofs. - expertroofer

... the installation is generally no different than ashphalt shingles and may even be quicker due to the size of the tiles. He explained that the product was made almost entirely out of used tires. More info can be found on their site here: http://www.euroshieldroofing.com/ If my memory serves, it goes for about $350/sq. - Bhodhisativa

- sources for the above opinions: RoofingTalk.com forum on Synthetic/Rubber Slate roofing, retrieved 2016/06/11, original source: www.roofingtalk.com/f2/synthetic-rubber-slate-roofing-631/

That opinion is consistent with what we read in some of the research about using crumb rubber based roofing substrate beneath "green" roofs - roofs on top of which soil and plants are added. There one finds discussions there about both the effects of crumb rubber based roof material water absorption (and its effect on soil and plants above) and also on zinc leaching from those products and the effects of zinc.

The question raised by Mr. Keopf about the causes of buckling or fishmouthing observed in rubber-based roof slates may point to a significant development in the field performance of rubber-based roofing slates or shingles.

Defective U.S. Century Flex Shakes rubber roof shingle complaints & a company that has vanished

Question: Badly Deteriorated U S Century Flex Shake Roof

(Jan 8, 2016) casey said:
I have a home with U S century flex shakes (50 year warranty) and they are completely deteriorated....the company no longer exists...what do I do?

This question was posted originally at PLASTIC ROOFING TYPES.

Reply: the disappearance of U.S. Century LLC & its TruSlate roofs

Casey, not to be glib, it's time to re-roof. U.S. Century made a slate look-alike roofing product using recycled steel-reinforced rubber (recycled tires) with a stone coating (crushed slate) - U.S. Century Flex-Shake. Flex-Shake and U.S. Century LLC have for all practical purposes, disappeared from the roofing horizong.

Contact\US Century, L.L.C.
Address:
1100 NE Loop 410 #617
San Antonio, TX 78209
USA
Phone: 210-826-8855

Watch out: this company and its website have disappeared as of 2016/06/11.

Website: www.truslate.com [listed by sources providing corporate location and information such as AECDaily]
Notice: as of 2016/06/11, the truslate.com link delivers the reader to a GAF TruSlate® web page.

Website http://www.flexshake.com/ now delivers the reader to a page offering this website name for sale. It was previously associated with US Century LLC Flex-Shake roofing. An architect's low-content website described FlexShake as "a shingle made from recycled tires, with the treads buffed off." Other sources called it a "reinforced rubber shake" made from the steel belts of discarded tires. The product name also appears in Australian building sources.

Century Roofing continues in business in the U.K. but that's not going to help with a U.S. roof claim.
www.centuryplastics.co.uk/

Let us know what you're told. Also I'd like to see some sharp photos of the roofing - please use our email found at the page top or bottom CONTACT link.

More research on Flex Shake rubber roofing shingles:

Rubber Roof Shingle Research

In addition to citations given earlier, these references include patent disclosures that illustrate some of the history, dates, & properties of roof shingles or shakes made from recycled rubber materials.

Sources of Rubber-based Roofing Slates & Shingles

Readers are invited to CONTACT us with field reports, photographs, or research concering the life, performance, inspection, & defects of rubber roofing slates & shingles.

...


Continue reading at PLASTIC ROOFING TYPES or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see DURALITA & METAL TILE ROOFS

Or see RUBBER, EPDM, PVC ROOFING for discussion of rubber membrane type roof coverings

Or see WARRANTIES for ROOF SHINGLES

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